Hit-run driver cleared after GPS validates his story

GPS data confirmed driver went back to crash scene, detectives said

A GPS device mounted in a car. (Flickr Creative Commons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Data from a man’s GPS device validated his story that he thought he hit a deer when he killed a 38-year-old woman with his truck, and now he has been cleared of any wrongdoing in the case.

Katherine Rusk’s body was found on the side of SE 282nd Avenue near SE Haley Road in Boring on March 3.

Detectives determined she was killed about 12 hours before they found her body.

Katherine Rusk in an undated photo released by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office on March 3, 2016. The 38-year-old was found dead on the side of SE 282nd and Haley in Boring.
Katherine Rusk in an undated photo released by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office on March 3, 2016. The 38-year-old was found dead on the side of SE 282nd and Haley in Boring.

They didn’t know of any suspects until the driver of the truck, 53-year-old Brian Schaffer, turned himself in. Schaffer told sheriff’s deputies he was driving in the area when he thought he hit a deer. He said it was pouring rain and dark at the time, but he decided to turn his car around to look for the deer, but didn’t find anything.

Deputies said other people also drove through the area without seeing Rusk’s body.

Detectives investigated Schaffer’s claims and obtained search warrants for his house and financial records. They canvassed the are where the crash occurred, searched his Internet history and took his truck in as evidence.

“The GPS device that was located inside the vehicle during the execution of the search warrant was turned over to a forensics examiner,” detective Dan Kraus with Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said. “That data was then plugged into a map program and we were able to come up with a very precise route that he had taken.”

The body of a woman was found along SE 282nd and Haley in Boring, March 3, 2016 (KOIN)
The body of a woman was found along SE 282nd and Haley in Boring, March 3, 2016 (KOIN)

Kraus said the data validated Schaffer’s story and confirmed he stopped along the same route he said he had to look for what he thought was a dead deer.

“Our purpose in this investigation is to learn the truth,” Kraus said. “In this case, it did a very good job at confirming.”

Investigators determined Schaffer wasn’t speeding or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. They determined he wasn’t using his phone and was well rested.

They also said Rusk had been seen drinking and walking in the road.

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